Goldsmith University’s Art Gallery Closes Through October After Pro-Palestine Students’ Protest

Goldsmith University’s Art Gallery Closes Through October After Pro-Palestine Students’ Protest

An art gallery at Goldsmiths University, London’s top art school, will shutter through October after pro-Palestine students occupied the space two weeks ago, calling for the university to sever any ties to Israel.

Goldsmiths’s Centre for Contemporary Art said on Wednesday that it had been forced to close because its staff could not resume operations as usual.

“We’re doing this because while the occupation continues, we are unable fulfil the terms required by our insurers for keeping artworks safe and unable to maintain health and safety standards for visitors and staff,” the art space said in a statement.

A show devoted to the German artist Galli will be rescheduled from this summer to early 2025. A residency program at the center was also put on hold.

The students’ occupation of the Centre for Contemporary Art was related to a larger protest at Goldsmiths surrounding the school’s ties to Israel. Students had occupied other buildings at the school, moving the university to make a set of commitments in May that included a scholarship fund for Palestinian students, a statement on the conflict, and a review of the school’s investments.

That set of commitments did not include a call for a ceasefire in Gaza, where more than 37,000 people have been killed since October 7, according to the local health ministry. As a result, students at the school announced an occupation of the Centre for Contemporary Art.

“We reject an institution that co-opts the student movement for Palestine whilst continuing to fund genocide,” a group representing the students wrote on Instagram in late May. The statement called on the center to cut ties with Candida and Zak Gertler, two donors who have been linked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Outset, a British arts fund cofounded by Candida, has also been the subject of recent Palestine-related protests.

The center’s statement did not mention Israel and Palestine by name, and said the protest “prevents us from being able to operate properly as a public art gallery.”

“We want to express our extreme sadness and sorrow to stakeholders (artists, educators and audiences) and staff for this temporary closure, which is a decision we have taken with a heavy heart,” the center wrote. “We hope for an end to the occupation, so Goldsmiths CCA can return to supporting artists, making exhibitions, and hosting our Residents.”

A spokesperson for Goldsmiths did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The post “Goldsmith University’s Art Gallery Closes Through October After Pro-Palestine Students’ Protest” by Alex Greenberger was published on 06/12/2024 by